Growing Australian plants

Page last updated: Tuesday, 3 June 2014 - 4:41pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Like all ornamentals, Australian native plants, need a little care and attention.

This webpage focuses on how to get the best from your Australian plants. Preparing your garden soil adequately and selecting plants that suit your soil type and climate is the best way to ensure you have healthy plants that are less likely to succumb to pests or diseases.

Choosing plants that are local to your area means they are already adapted to the conditions and are more likely to thrive than Australian plants from a different climate.

Choosing plants

Australian and particularly Western Australian (WA) plants have evolved, and are adapted to a wide range of soil types. Some prefer sands while others appreciate clay soils or one rich in organic matter.

White domed flower comprising many stamens.
Banksia baxteri.

If your soil is alkaline or acidic choose plants that prefer those conditions. Many garden centres will do a quick pH test if you take in a soil sample.

If your pH is unsuitable for your desired species, grow them in containers so you can create the right conditions.

Consider also how well your soil drains, whether the site is sunny or shaded for all or part of the day and how exposed to wind it may be.

Find out the history of your block. For example, in a new subdivision that has been built where a market garden once stood, the soil may have high levels of phosphorus, which some Australian plants cannot tolerate. Other areas may carry the risk of diseases such as nematodes to which many natives are susceptible or root rot, including dieback.

Staff members of nurseries or garden centres that specialise in Australian plants will be able to recommend species suitable for your site, including those that tolerate phosphorus.